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Managing Conflict within a Multicultural Team

Managing Conflict - E-Learning

Today’s multicultural workplace requires a new set of skills in order to manage diverse teams which often have varied perspectives on problem solving, work ethics, management, coping strategies, personal and business boundaries, and ways of dealing with conflict.

Conflict and leadership are two sides of the same coin – you can’t have one without the other. In order to be a good manager or leader, we need to understand how to deal with conflict in the workplace and facilitate resolution in order to encourage greater team work and productivity.

Developing effective conflict resolution skills are a vital part of becoming an effective leader and achieving a sustainable, successful business.

Unresolved conflict can lead to a high turnover of staff, poor working environment and a lack of productivity, so understanding how to deal with conflict in a positive way is essential for happiness and success.

The following tips will give an insight into how to deal with conflict in a multicultural team setting.


1. Communication

Most misunderstandings arise from poor communication – not enough information, the wrong details, a lack of specifics, or an error in comprehension.

Being clear, concise, and decisive aids conflict resolution by ensuring that everyone knows where they stand.

Learning how to communicate on a level with people from different cultures and backgrounds means understanding that communication isn’t just verbal.

Our body language, ability to listen objectively, to encourage and engage others while treating them with respect are key factors to consider when looking at our ability to communicate effectively.


2. Emotions

Workplaces can be highly emotional areas where the stress of getting the job done right, on time, and within budget, can weigh heavily on our shoulders. As a manager these stresses can be even more oppressive.

However, when dealing with conflict, letting one’s emotions override our ability to make rational decisions or communicate with clarity, is a definite no-no.

Personal emotions need to be shelved for later – nothing will be resolved if we throw a tantrum, blame everyone else for their perceived failings, and then run off to the bathroom in tears or take an extended lunchbreak!

Keeping a track on our emotions (knowing when we are getting out of our comfort zone or when things are become to tense) is vital to being able to maintain control and manage ourselves and others.

If you feel like things are getting out of control, call a break, have a walk, make a coffee and then go back to it with a clear head and settled feelings.


3. Boundaries

Jerry Belson, the Hollywood director, producer and writer is credited with founding the phrase “never assume as you make an ASS of U and ME”.

Where boundaries are concerned, never assume that colleagues and co-workers are aware of what is acceptable behaviour as this is likely to lead to problems.

Boundaries create a positive framework that helps to establish sound business practices for collaboration, leadership structures, conflict resolution arrangements, and job descriptions.

Communicate these boundaries effectively and clearly so that everyone knows where they stand.


4. Cultural Awareness

Multicultural teams often require multi-approach standpoints. What works for one individual may not work for another, so we need to recognize what will benefit those in a particular situation.

Understanding different those from a different culture, their outlook, beliefs, religions, views, language, and so on, can all help to find common ground and lead to improved communication and therefore, conflict resolution.

There are courses available which offer cultural awareness training for management and staff which can be most beneficial when setting up a multicultural team or moving into a global marketplace.

If you feel your team would benefit from this you can contact us Creative Word Training and our experts can help you create an on-demand, bespoke course.


5. Opportunity

Finally, it is worth pointing out that conflict is not an intrinsically negative thing.

Conflict can offer a great potential for learning, teaching, growth and development. It can also create an opportunity for new ideas, concepts and ambitions.

Correctly managed, conflict can work for a business, as opposed to against it, and can lead onto greater innovation and a stimulated workforce.


If you would like to find out more about how to manage conflict in an effective and professional manner, please click here to view our Managing Conflict – E-learning course which covers areas such as;

  • Leaning how to identify the cause of the conflict before trying to mediate it
  • Learning to resolve conflict between two individuals at work
  • Exploring strategies that help reach agreement